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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  June 25, 2012 4:00am-6:15am EDT

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coverage of the "los angeles times" festival of books. our next author in our studio is
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basketball great kareem abdul jabbar about his book, "what color is my world: the lost history of african american inventors" red. >> tell me about this project. >> this is a book that i did in 1996, which was an overview of black history in america. in one of the chapters that i wrote, i focused on lewis howard let them are. in checking out what different inventors did in the 19th century, it really made me aware of the fact that there were a lot of black inventors that people didn't know anything about. so i got this idea from that experience. i figured i would do a book on inventors related to children, because there are so many children who are not aware of these things.
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>> today's children seem to be interested in gaming and videos. why the vehicle of a book to get interested in the story you want to tell? >> i think that a book has the ability to reach children on different levels than games do. it is a lot more in-depth, and a random-access. they can go to any part of it, physically, and draw out the information. >> there are pages of the biography about the inventors. i am sure that you spend time with your coauthors to decide who would be in the book. how did people make the cut? >> our choices had to do with the fact that we wanted to pick people who did things that were very important to everyday life. the bread machine or food preservation order food refrigeration. the fact that nowadays you can
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ship food around the world because of refrigerated food transport, that was an idea that was first thought up by a black american. all of these inventions have really affected our lives. there are so many other inventions in there. look at all the lives that have been saved just because we have blood typing and the blood bank. again, very important for all of our lives. and most people don't understand that that was a black american and they were crucial in figuring these things out. >> including super soaker, the big squirt gun. >> some of these kids play with it, and they are not aware of who invented it. this is such an important aspect for it telecommunication. three d. is such an important
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aspect of telecommunication. >> programs here are interactive, see you can call up kareem abdul-jabbar about his book. this is his seventh book. the first one was back in 1983. he's been writing for 30 years. we welcome your questions about his writing and about his projects and what life is an author is like light in addition to his accomplishments in life. we will put the phone numbers at the bottom of the screen. we can also take your tweets and e-mails. look through the list, and there was only one woman. why is that? >> we picked her because what she did was so significant. there are other women inventors, of course, but she made a
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significant invention that has been widely used. it is the most practical for one, for us to use. >> the concept of this book, by the kids and the people african-american? are you targeting and african-american audience. >> i wasn't targeting african-americans alone, but i thought since all of these people came from the african-american community, i would focus on that. it is crucial that we reach minority kids. so many minority kids today, if you ask them who they wanted to be, they would name you are an athlete or an entertainer. they only see themselves as being able to succeed in those two realms. athletes, athletics, and entertainment. there is such a wide variety of things that young people can do today to make a significant contribution to american life
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and to earn a great living and be recognized as doing something meaningful. >> you spend a lot of time talking to kids about this message, especially african-american kids. there are many other avenues besides entertainment and sports. forgive me, it sounds ironic coming from someone with a claim to fame on sports. have you got a message to the young people? >> it doesn't last forever. the crew doesn't last forever. the fact that i'm able to be an author and a public speaker has to do with what i learned in school. the fact that knowledge is power, which gives you the ability to do things that you want to do, that is a very vital message. i want to make sure that young people get that message. >> i want to get our viewers involved in the conversation. let's take our first call. you are on the air.
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welcome. caller: thank you. my question for mr. kareem abdul-jabbar, first of all, it is an honor. my question is how do you feel about more african-americans being in the nba, my second question is would you ever want to be the head coach for the la lakers, and my third question is could you tell me who your favorite african american athlete is? >> i guess i will handle this with the last question first. my favorite inventor is lewis latimer and doctor charles schultz. what they did for people was so significant all the way around the world. lewis letter, by doing alexander graham bell's application
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drawings, he was right there at the salvation of telecommunication and electronics. also because of what he did with illumination and these are important things all around the world. modern lights would not be able to exist without artificial lighting. i think that his invention is very important. doctor charles has saved so many lives and impacted so many lives because of the knowledge that we have through the science of blood typing. again, this is a very important contribution worldwide. i think and i hope that answers your questions. sorry don't have time to answer all three. >> let's move on to charlotte in south bend, indiana. >> yes, hello. what an honor it is to talk to you. i wonder if you talk about the book you wrote about the buffalo
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soldiers and the significance of the buffalo soldiers to american history reign. >> well, i think the industry of buffalo soldiers is important to american history because the westward experience of our nation was a key element in to us becoming a world power. we could not have done that if we had not been able to utilize all of the land that the united states is comprised of. in order to do this, it took people to go out and map the roads, telegraph lines, and explored the best places to live and everything. all of this was accompanied by our armed forces, the u.s. cavalry and infantry. buffalo soldiers were key elements of that effort. i think that when people find out about the efforts of the buffalo soldiers, they appreciate more about how we became a great nation, and all
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of this happened right after the civil war right up until the end of the 20th century. >> many of your titles, all of them are biographies. they tell stories about people. why are you attracted to people stories? >> i think that people stories are important because most people don't envision black americans doing things that everyone else does. when you see their stories, which are just like anyone else's story, you get an idea of our common humanity and understanding that these are fellow citizens. they are not exotic creatures. they are fellow citizens and trying to do the same things to help make this a great nation. >> your hope is obviously to influence individual young people. who is the biggest influence on
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you? >> i would have to say in so many ways, jackie robinson. i was a baseball fan when i was a kid. jackie robinson was also a role model in other ways. my mom always pointed out that he was very intelligent and articulate. he went to ucla. he ended up going to do ucla. >> you are on the campus of usc. >> we won't get excited about that. so much of what he did with his life was an example. after his sports career, he became a businessman. a very successful businessman. he pointed out things and with regard to economics that black americans needed to know about. he was very -- very much a wall model and mentor in many of the aspects of his life. >> that's call from our viewing audience is lisa in nashville. caller: thank you for taking my call. i love c-span 2 and "book tv."
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mr. kareem abdul-jabbar, it is such an honor to talk you into here about the book you have written. i knew you were an author, but i did not realize how many books you have written. what was the title of your first book and how do you decide on the subjects of iraq's? >> the title of my first book was a giant steps. it is my biography. i'm a pretty tall person, i take long steps. that's how i got the title of my book. but i choose my subject matter with regards to how to impact people and explain things about american life that a lot of people are not really aware of. >> raymond is your partner on books. how does your partnership were? >> bremen and i worked together in great ways.
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-- we sit down and work together and defined areas that we want to touch on. i will give him notes, and he will write some of the things that i want to say. if he has captured my voice on it, then we go back and forth. i rewrite things to give him things to edit and vice versa. >> is writing easy for you or is it a real labor? >> writing is a labor for everybody. you have to really have a real set purpose to be a writer. the longer i do it, the easier it gets. >> next question for you is from jane and calabasas, california. i'm sorry, first jane in new york city. >> that afternoon. i appreciate you. you raised the question of of
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only one woman being in the book. you did not answer that question and i would like to revisit it. my concern is that there is only one woman. there are several women inventors. why out of all african american inventors fair, white is there only one -- why is there only one -- and all only one -- and all the ones we did during black history month, okay, joy, thanks. >> the ones that we were able to work fine, -- the ones we were able to find, of course, there could be a book on women inventors. all the other ones we thought
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were significant and we didn't want to exclude women. so we made sure that we had our women's invention. the woman whose future. >> you are also very involved in education, which is a big effort to get science technology and math and engineering and the like. is this in concert without ever? >> yes, i think that is a fact that all the people that are heroes in this book, they are mathematicians and engineers and, a chemist and other people involved in science. it really is a key issue in what is talked about with regard to education. so many young people don't understand that those subjects are the ones that will be the key for us having a job in the 21st century.
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it will be very technologically oriented with regard to the positioning for good jobs. people with good math and science backgrounds will be able to find jobs in many areas, and that is a key issue for any young people who are thinking about going to college and trying to pursue higher education and. >> it is time for jane now in calabasas. >> did you attend a catholic high school in new york city? >> yes, i did. i attended an academy. it is closed now, but i graduated in 1965. >> are you so they're? >> didn't have an influence on you? >> i was wondering why the question. >> my high school definitely had an influence on me. it helped me understand what the fundamentals are and foundations
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of education. i know a lot of my friends went to school where they could take shop and stuff like that. you could not do it at my school. everything was academically oriented. >> julie in birmingham, alabama. probably the last. caller: hello? >> yes, go ahead, please. to . caller: julie, are you there? to yes, i am there be not. caller: i think that your book is a wonderful thing. it is a great idea. the reasons behind it are very important, and i just wanted to say thank you for writing the book. >> thank you very much. i hope you enjoy it, and i hope you get a chance to talk to your friends and let them know that there are some great types of
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information in here for young people and what the deal with. >> that was a nice way to end our segment with kareem abdul-jabbar. or is the book. "what color is my world: the lost history of african-american inventors." as we closer, you just accepted a request from secretary clinton to be an ambassador, cultural ambassador. he just started that. what is the job going to be? >> the job entails me going and speaking to people, selects -- select groups in young countries and emphasizing the value of education and giving them an insight into what life in america is all about. >> have you done any chance you? >> i have done a trip to brazil. it went very well. i had a great time. i had great interactions with the people that i met with. >> thank you for interacting with the c-span aud
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